The hastily-cobbled North Sea windfall tax is a black mark against Osborne, though not necessarily for the reason the oil lobbyists would have us believe.
It's dumb because (a) any hasty intervention into the incredibly complex N.Sea taxation regime is bound to go wrong; (b) it was motivated by a determination to do some sort of very noisy, attention-grabbing hand-brake turn on Fuel Duty; (c) Osborne started rowing back on it immediately, thereby confirming the impression it's ill thought out.
But, CU's anguish notwithstanding, we shouldn't rush to accept at face value the oil companies' protestations that they'll stop drilling forthwith ("pause and reflect", my arse). As an old oil-man myself I have trooped to the Treasury on many occasions, crying wolf with the best of them. Confident politicians see this special pleading for what it is.
It's a fact that oil companies the world over fully expect that when windfalls accrue - especially from oil price increases that they have in no sense budgeted upon - windfall taxes are never far behind. They know it, they expect it, & they kick up a fuss for the sake of form.
So - can't lose sleep over this, even though the Law of Unexpected Consequences is in full swing and something daft will probably come of it all. But no dafter than the rest of the shambolic 'energy policy'. I see that Huhne is at loggerheads with Clegg on nukes, calling him a headless chicken, no less. Kinda amusing ... Huhne ... chicken ... Huhn ... no ? Well I thought it was funny.